When you have to give bad news. Here are some tips to help soften the blow.
Delivering bad news is always hard. It doesn't matter if you are a manager who has to give bad news to an employee or you have to tell a customer something you know they don't want to hear, being the one in the position of having to deliver the news can be stressful. Especially when you are working in Customer Service, you may find yourself in just this type of situation. But, there are some ways that you can soften the blow in order to make it easier to hear and make the conversation more productive.
Bad news always stings, but when the listener is able to clearly understand the news and see it as fair, it is easier for them to cope with. In order to achieve this goal however, you have to first have a clear understanding of who you are talking to and what their goals are.
Here are some tips to help you deliver the bad news:
- If the listener is driven by success, frame the news as an opportunity rather than a setback. When you focus more on the benefits and rewards, your employees are more likely to embrace the situation as a challenge and come up with creative, high energy solutions.
- If the listener is someone who is trying to avoid losing something, focusing on the prevention aspect is a great way to make the news easier to deal with. For example if a customer is upset about a company's policy, point out the reason why this policy is good for them in the long run and how it can save them hassle or provide them with extra protection.
- Always frame the news in a positive manner. For example, if you have to tell a group of employees that your team is being restructured, you can tell them that it will give everyone a chance to be more efficient and make the company more profitable. By keeping your focus on the silver lining, your listener will be less likely to react with anger or frustration.
- Be clear on the reason that this is happening. As humans, we all want to know why things are happening. Give your listener legitimate reasons for the bad news. You don't have to go into great detail, but you have to give them a reason to accept the news in a productive manner.
- Ask for their support. Especially when delivering bad news to employees, it helps if you can get them to buy in and help support the new policy, the new change or situation. When you get your team on board, it much more likely that your employees will embrace the news and work together to minimize the disruption in work flow.
No matter what the situation is, if you try to understand the needs, wants and motivation of the person you are talking to, you can lessen the impact of bad news and be able to move forward to dealing with it in a productive manner.
Have you ever had to deliver bad news to an employee or a customer? How did it make you feel? What did you do to lessen the impact? Let me know in the comments.
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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for CSJobsBlog. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.